Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Utah rallies for breathable air

By C. R. Manor

Large rally at the Utah State Capitol demands cleaner air

Salt Lake City, UT – As many as 5000 Utahans rallied at the State Capitol, demanding cleaner air with no more excuses. Every winter, pollution from oil refineries, Hill Air Force Base incinerators and Kennecott mines gets trapped low near the valley floors, creating toxic air and breathing troubles for the people. With what is known as ‘the inversion,’ Utah competes for the worst air in the country at this time of year.

Protesters called out elected leaders for putting profits ahead of people and for stifling legislation that would remedy the public health hazard. Officials like Governor Gary Herbert, Representative Rebecca Lockhart and Senator Mike Lee were put on the spot and called to account by the people for the poor condition of the air. People were urged to call in and demand that politicians get behind legislation to stop the air pollution.

Many young people in the large crowd wore surgical or air pollution masks. Ian de Oliveira of the Students for a Democratic Society-affiliated Revolutionary Student Union explains, “Today’s protest sent a strong message from students and young people in Utah. We need to literally clear the air. Our health is more important than corporate profits. We will no longer be ignored by bought and paid for politicians who bow down before the wealthy owners.”

Demands were also raised for better public transportation infrastructure, clean energy and regulations for industries identified as major contributors to the problem of Utah’s air quality.

The rally was organized by several groups including: HEAL Utah, Utah Moms for Clean Air and Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment.

#SaltLakeCityUT #EnvironmentalJustice #HEALUtah #UtahMomsForCleanAir #UtahPhysiciansForHealthyEnvironment